Science and Christianity

I keep hearing people say that science and religion (specifically Christianity) are incompatible. This claim, however, needs clarification.

1) Does the person mean that the scientific method is incompatible with Christianity? But how is a method of discovering how the physical world works using testing, observation, hypotheses and theories, etc., incompatible with Christianity? There isn’t any incompatibility between Christianity and a method of gaining knowledge about the world. Christians will certainly claim that science is not the only method of gaining knowledge, but this is hardly unique to Christians. Science does not demand that view that science is the only method of gaining knowledge and many non-religious philosophers and scientists believe it isn’t the only method.

2) Does the person mean naturalism, the view that only the physical universe exists? But this is a philosophical view about the universe that science does not demand. Naturalism certainly is incompatible with Christianity, but naturalism is a philosophy.

3) Does the person mean that certain scientific theories are incompatible with Christianity, such as the age of the earth or evolution? This seems to be where the debate lies. This, of course, is debatable, and I won’t be able to solve the controversy here.

I think if people are going to claim that science is incompatible with Christianity, they need to be clearer on what they mean.


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